HENDERSON-BASED shipbuilder Austal Ltd and its joint venture partner, General Dynamics, have received approval to build a second Littoral Combat Ship for the US Navy. The option has been confirmed following the announcement in October 2005 for the first General Dynamics/Austal LCS. Based on the 127-metre advanced Austal trimaran seaframe, which forms the platform for the ship’s operational and combat systems, the new vessel will be built alongside the Independence, which is currently in an advanced stage of construction in Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. In November, Austal secured a $140 million contract with an overseas group to build multiple aluminium passenger ferries, with the option of further purchases. Austal has recently announced a $60 million extension to its multiple ferry order. The ferries are expected to be delivered in 2008. Austal chairman John Rothwell has previously told WA Business News that the company has three quarters of a billion dollars worth of ships under construction at Perth and Mobile shipyards. The company’s revenue for 2005-06 financial year increased 22 per cent from $319.4 million in 2004-05 to $389 million, while its net profit increased 35 per cent from $30.1 million in 2004-05 to $40.6 million in 2005-06.
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